As Erik Larson notes in a recent column for the Harvard Business Review, managers until recently had few tools to help them make better decisions. Data-gathering technologies and the revolution in behavioral economics mean managers can now make much better choices in less time. He recommends a seven-point checklist that assesses the alternatives, analyzes potential impacts, ensures clarity of purpose, and sets dates for follow-up. See the full list here: invmag.us/10161
Learn to Juggle
Spend some time learning to juggle. According to Allen Sills, an associate professor of neurological surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center, it will grow your gray matter, just in time for the holidays. “Taking on a new task that involves some motor activity, pattern recognition, and spatial orientation will activate multiple regions and reawaken dormant areas of the brain,” Dr. Sills told Men’s Health magazine.
The most important part of a sale is the final moment: This is the point customers remember most how they felt during a transaction, says Ross Shafer, the author of Customer Empathy. “Caring about people is a differentiator that costs you nothing — yet contributes more to your bottom line than all other marketing efforts combined,” he says.
Feed the Impulse
This is the time of year when it’s most important to have “splurchandise” — easy, impulse purchases — available near your cash register. Cute readers, patterned microfiber cloths, eyeglass necklaces and chains, and fun cases: All make great stocking stuffers for bespectacled folks.
Review the Reviews
Schedule a Yelp session every Wednesday to review customer feedback on online review sites. Not only will this allow you to keep up with what people are saying about your business, but you’ll be able to “share any positive feedback you receive in your social networks and other communication avenues with your customers,” says retail blogger Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle writing on Forbes.com.” After all, strong reviews are earned so why not share them?” she says.
It's All About the Sales Staff
Preparing an ad campaign? Rather than start with a big concept, reverse-engineer the marketing process, says Mark Stevens, author of Your Marketing Sucks. Talk to your salespeople first and then work your way back to strategy, he says in a blog on the Amex Open Forum. “Salespeople are the ones who get the phones hung up on them and the doors slammed in their faces. They’ll tell you what works and doesn’t work.”
Need to send confidential information via email to a customer or financial documents to your CPA? ProtonMail.com is a free, open-source (and HIPAA-compliant!) email service developed by CERN and MIT scientists that promises to protect your privacy. It’s also dead simple to use. Emails you send and receive with other ProtonMail users are automatically encrypted end-to-end. A password generator means you can also send encrypted messages to non-ProtonMail addresses. Another handy feature is the ability to set an expiration, or “self-destruct” date for the emails you send.
Girl Scout Sales Lessons
You probably don’t think a 13-year-old has much to teach an eyecare professional. You probably haven’t met Katie Francis who sold 22,200 boxes of Girl Scout cookies last year. Her tips, as told to the New York Times:
Lesson 1: Whatever it takes, get your customers’ attention. When Francis sets up a booth in heavily trafficked areas — outside a Walmart, say — she sings songs from the movie Frozen with lyrics adapted to praise the virtues of cookies.
Lesson 2: Smile. ‘‘No one wants to buy from a person who is frowning,’’ she says.
Lesson 3: Work hard. On school days, Francis works past dark, and she logs 12- to 13-hour days on the weekends. She often tracks door to door even in snowstorms.
Rage Against the Fall
During the lead-up to winter, make a genuine effort to get out for a stroll on those rare warm days. “Getting outside for at least 30 minutes a day when the weather is warm and sunny can improve mood, memory and promote creative thinking,” Metropolitan Home writes, citing research done at the University of Michigan.
This article originally appeared in the October 2016 edition of INVISION.